How Instagram's New 'Photos of You' Increases Customer Engagement

by Christina Jones on June 5, 2013
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Visual marketing is on the rise, and Instagram is leading the way, dominating the photo-sharing space. Just a year after being acquired by Facebook, Instagram has experienced a 500 percent increase in users, a study by social media analytics firm Simply Measured shows.

The study also finds that, although more top brands use Pinterest than Instagram, the Instagram users reach a much larger collective audience, or more than 7 million followers, compared with 500,000 on Pinterest. Every second, 1,000 comments are posted and 8,500 photos are liked on Instagram.

In May, Instagram launched Photos of You, a photo-tagging feature similar to Facebook’s. With it, users can easily tag people and brands in any photo — and view their tagged photos in one spot.

In the past, Instagram users could only tag other Instagram users in photos with an “@” and their username, but there was no way to view them in a designated area. Also, hashtags were useful for a topic, but they would eventually get lost in a sea of photos unrelated to a specific user. The new feature creates a separate tab in your profile, where you can view all of the photos in which your account is tagged. You can also adjust your settings so that nothing appears on your profile until you approve it.

So, if you actively use Instagram for business purposes, what impact will this new feature have on your brand? Photos of You can increase your customer engagement and visibility among Instagram’s 100 million monthly users, the company asserts.

Customer Engagement and Visibility

“Whether you’re a fashion designer sharing photographs of models wearing your designs or a sports team documenting athletes, this gives you a new way to tell your story on Instagram and to engage with your followers,” Instagram explains in a blog post.

For starters, the push notifications involved with tagged photos is an essentially effortless engagement technique, as users are likely to come back to your page repeatedly to view any photos you’ve tagged them in.

What’s more, when users tag your brand in a photo, they are essentially giving you credibility — and sharing it with their networks, which puts your brand in front of more potential customers.

Using these methods gives you the opportunity to connect with top influencers in your niche. Tagging them in one of your brand’s photos gives them exclusivity, and prompts them to share the photo with their followers as well. Something as simple as reposting a photo they have taken with one of your products, and tagging them in the photo automatically connects you with them.

For example, Starbucks encourages its followers to tag their personal photos of the brand’s coffee with the hashtag #Starbucks.  According to Statigram, there are currently nearly 2.1 million photos attached to #Starbucks. This hashtag exposes the Starbucks brand to its 1.2 million followers and their networks, generating word-of-mouth advertising with little effort. If Starbucks can do it, so can you.

Content Moderation and Marketing Campaigns

The Photos of You feature also gives you the option to moderate tagged photos and choose which ones show up in your feed. This option combats the privacy concerns raised by Facebook’s tagging feature, which allowed friends and fans to view unwanted and even inappropriate photos before they were approved by the person or brand that had been tagged. Now Instagram allows you to curate your photos based on the specific brand story you want to tell.

Creating marketing campaigns around user generated content is ideal for customer engagement. Some 65 percent of millennial users consider information shared on social media when making a purchase decision. Your success rate increases with a call to action, so encourage your followers to submit a snapshot relevant to your campaign and to tag you in it.

In February, Ford launched Fiesta Movement, a yearlong campaign promoting its Fiesta model that relies solely on content provided by its users. It involves a team of 100 social media influencers who Ford provided with a car and related goodies, to document their road adventures with pictures, videos, and other updates. Instagram is among the social platforms the influencers are sharing their experiences with the hashtag #fiestamovement. So far over 1,400 photos have been tagged.

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